It’s not a stretch to say the adidas shoes that Jeremy Scott designs aren’t made with the mainstream sneaker audience in mind, and that’s just fine with him. Scott has never been one to play it safe and blend in with the crowd, whether it’s with his fashion designs, sneakers or his various other creative endeavors, and as you might imagine, many fans of his work are cut from the same cloth. It takes a bold and confident individual to pull off having giant wings or stuffed animals on their shoes, and the market has proven that there are plenty of eager consumers ready to take that leap and turn some heads.Jeremy Scott and his ongoing adidas Originals collection have pushed the limits and gone so over the top in so many different ways, that it’s hard to imagine what’s left for him to do to continue flabergasting the sneaker world. At this point, we’ve become accustomed to his wild and whimsical sneaker creations and some of the shock value has worn off, but when Scott and his O by O line first launched in 2008, it was like nothing we’d ever seen and a lot of people didn’t know what to make of the unorthodox designs.
There was a cult following from the beginning that quickly spread to the point that each new release became a must-have for the ever-growing swarm of Jeremy Scott devotees. The first few years of releases were distributed in limited quantities and were especially scarce in the U.S., where they could only be found at a handful of Stateside retailers. Nowadays, Jeremy Scott x adidas sneakers are much more readily available and sold in far greater quantities – a development necessitated by the enormous demand generated by years of growing momentum and awareness, but also thanks in large part to an impromptu hip-hop co-sign that introduced Jeremy’s Wings 2.0 to a whole new audience.
Back in 2011, then up and comer, A$AP Rocky gave the shoe a sincere and completely organic endorsement when he wore it (and prominently featured it) in his video for “Purple Swag”, a song that went mega-viral and is currently clocking in with over 23 million views. Rocky’s choice of footwear that day proved to be an invaluable bridge between Jeremy Scott and the hip-hop world, in one fell swoop, making the shoes cool to a valuable segment of the sneaker market who may have previously been skeptical or unaware of the eccentric designer’s outlandish offerings.
A$AP Rocky’s fondness for the line and contribution to the cause did not go unnoticed by adidas or Jeremy, and eventually, it led to relationships with both. As the public got to know Rocky better, it became clear that not only did he have a passion and flare for fashion, but also a unique sense of style that helped him stand out from the pack and influence the landscape of hip-hop fashion in the process. As fellow renegade innovators, there was a natural mutual respect, and Jeremy and Rocky eventually formed a friendship. The seeds for an inevitable sneaker collaboration were planted and it was only a matter of time before something grew from it.
It may have taken a while to come to fruition, but a co-conceived shoe is finally on the way. Appropriately revisiting the Wings 2.0 model, the “Black Flag” edition pays homage to Rocky’s history with the shoe, while incorporating new elements inspired by his own personal style and some well known imagery from his album covers. The end result is actually one of Scott’s subtler designs in comparison to some, but that would seem to be a vital component in properly capturing the blacked out A$AP Mob aesthetic.
The “Black Flag” Wings 2.0 will arrive at select retailers this Saturday, September 28th, but before it does, we wanted to get the inside story from A$AP Rocky himself. We asked him all about his new shoe, his friendship with Jeremy Scott and the future of A$AP Mob sneaker collabs, so keep reading for our exclusive interview and a detailed photo gallery in the pages ahead.
Sneaker News: It’s safe to say you’ve probably been approached by a lot of brands looking to work with you. What made adidas Originals the right fit for you?
A$AP Rocky: It was just me admiring the brand and growing up on it. There’s just a tradition that I felt comes with the brand.
SN: We’ve seen you wearing a bunch of Jeremy Scott stuff over the years and you guys seem to have developed something of a personal relationship. What is it about Jeremy’s style and design sense that you’re drawn to?
A$AP Rocky: He just always thought out the box. Everything about him was just out the box. If it wasn’t extra weird, it was just cool designs. I always like his concepts and it’s always interesting and intriguing.
SN: You’re obviously big into fashion. How did some of your fashion influences and preferences play into your approach to designing your own shoe?
A$AP Rocky: With this shoe, it was Jeremy’s – it was always out there. He just did stuff based off or inspired by me and my style and my whole crew in general. So it wasn’t that it was a collaborative thing as far as the creatives go, but as far as the inspiration and the relationship, it was something that we just briefly spoke about. I just told him like – Yo, it needs teflon material – stuff like that. And he was like yeah, we can make that possible. He got the closest thing to it and it was just dope. It was kinda like once hetold me his idea and what he wanted to do with it, it was like a skeleton and it was easy for me to work with him on that. And Jeremy’s always been like that, and I respect adidas for taking risks and collaborating with someone willing to take those kinda chances and express himself creatively. adidas was Jeremy Scott’s platform to really express himself and that’s what you can appreciate about that, because not a lot of big corporations are really willing and prepared to take those kinda risks.
SN: How hands-on did you get in the design process? Did you and Jeremy sit in a room together and work on it? Do you go back and forth on emails? How does it all go down?
A$AP Rocky: Every way you just named. I see him in person, we talk about it, we go over emails, we get on the phone sometimes, stuff like that.
SN: So is it him throwing stuff out to get your feedback and then you just keep tweaking it based on what you like and don’t like?
A$AP Rocky: Not necessarily. This is just one amongst many things that we’ve collaborated on. The process isn’t always consistently the same thing every time. There’s always a different process each time and it’s more of an experience each time.
SN: Where did the “Black Flag” concept come from? It seems safe to assume that it’s a nod to the use of the flag on your album covers, but does it go deeper than that?
A$AP Rocky: Basically, yeah. The Black Flag is a reference to us turning a traditional red, white, and blue American flag to black and white, and it’s basically like anarchy and we turned it upside down and stuff. And the “Black Flag” was just a tribute to that. You know, sometimes we would do an all black flag or an all white flag or a black and white flag, and he just took that and threw it on the Wings and it was just an homage to what we do.
SN: What made you pick the Wings 2.0 as your shoe of choice for this project?
A$AP Rocky: Honestly, for me, those are like my favorite pair. In one of my first videos, “Purple Swag”, I’m on the handlebars and I got on Jeremy Scott Wings and that became a really popular thing. That made those really popular, like they were my signature Jeremy Scotts. Not only that, but I did a photo shoot where I’m wearing the red, white, and blue flag sneakers with the matching Louis Vuitton towel and that became pretty famous, and you know – that’s what I do.
SN: What’s it like to see a rise in Harlem and NYC kids repping Jeremy Scott adidas shoes and other things you wear, and how does it feel to be directly influencing the way that other people are dressing?
A$AP Rocky: I think it’s incredible. It’s incredibly dope. I appreciate it. It’s really an honor and a blessing.
SN: Are the rest of the ASAP Mob as big into sneakers and fashion as you, and if so, who in the crew would be the best candidate to get their own signature shoe?
A$AP Rocky: Everybody! A$AP Bari should get a shoe. I think A$AP Yams deserves a shoe. Yams would have everybody wearing his shoe!
SN: The rap game has always been a relentlessly competitive place. With a number of rappers getting their own signature sneakers in recent years, do you feel a sense of competition with your peers when it comes to your shoes as well your music?
A$AP Rocky: Not at all. I’m not even looking at this like a competitive thing. I’m like that horse that’s winning the race right now. My eyes are just on getting to the finish line and hoping that my damn horse jockey stops whipping me. That’s what it’s like. My creative drive keeps me going like that. I don’t even see anything like I’ve got those eye shields blocking the peripheral vision so I can just focus on the finish line. That’s just how it is with me. I’m just focused on what I’m ready to accomplish and doing it the best
.SN: Will there be more A$AP Rocky adidas shoes still to come and what can we expect from the future of the partnership? Maybe some apparel too?
A$AP Rocky: I really hope so. Let’s put it like this. If I get the creative control and platform to put out a sneaker, it’s gonna be revolutionary and tomorrow. It’s gonna be new age, new age. It’s gonna be the best and that’s all I’m gonna say. I’m gonna leave it at that.
A huge thanks to A$AP Rocky for taking the time to fill us in on his shoe, and make sure to look out for the “Black Flag” Wings 2.0 releasing this Saturday, September 28th for $250. For more information and a list of the retailers that will have them in stock this weekend, click here.
“The ultra-soft, 100% cotton distressed black t-shirt has multi-color imprints on two sides - each with the distinctive faded, crackled "distressed” artwork heralding the A$AP Ferg “Let it Go” video. Artwork includes caricatures of A$AP Ferg & Marty Baller on the front and the popular lyric on the back!“